Illegal Trash And Recycling Bins Removed From 1st Ward Streets

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not happy with a rogue recycling firm that put up trash and recycling bins on city streets without proper permits; and the mayor’s especially unhappy with Ald. Proco Joe Moreno (1st), whose name and face adorn the cans.

The illegal bins were removed Wednesday after the company learned of the mayor’s complaints.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine first reported on the illegal trash bins on Tuesday and has tracked down the owners of “Free Green Can,” which owns the bins.

They responded to Emanuel’s complaints by pulling all the cans until and unless they get the proper city permits. It took them a full day to respond to questions about the trash bins; coincidentally, right after the mayor’s angry comments.

When they did, the company president blamed the city’s confusing permit process and praised Moreno for choosing recycling over red tape.

Moreno’s name and face are on virtually every combination trash can-recycling bin on public sidewalks in his Northwest Side ward, none of which have required city permits.

“If an ordinance exists, if there’s rules to the road, follow them. If not, there are consequences to those decisions,” Emanuel said Wednesday.

Asked why his company put up the bins when at least one alderman informed him he needed a city permit first, Free Green Can president Steve Holland said “The permit process in city of Chicago is delegated into different buckets, and we don’t fit perfectly into any one of those buckets.”

So Holland said the company decided to put them up without permits, “after talking with Alderman Moreno and seeing the champion he had become.”

Moreno was the only alderman, of many they talked to, who agreed to the free recycling for advertising deal, then had his own picture put on them.

A spokesman for Moreno first said the alderman “paid for the ad”, then changed it to, he “will pay for it,” before admitting they were considered “campaign contributions”.

“I haven’t given Aldermen Moreno one dollar,” Holland said. “The invoice that we haven’t even issued yet for him, because his cans haven’t even been out for 30 days, I think is $2,000.”

Emanuel said “each alderman has to make their own decision. I would highly recommend, if a company’s not following the rules, as set up by the City Council, I wouldn’t be cooperating with them by advertising.”

CBS 2 has learned the city inspector general’s office is now looking into how these containers got on city streets and who got paid what.

Holland – who grew up in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood, and whose family members include Chicago cops and firefighters – said he just wants to make it right.

“Just because of this story, and we don’t want to cause any ill will with anyone, we’ve automatically decided to pull the 25 cans,” Holland said. It’s my decision, I made the call. It’s unfortunate that there’s not going to be recycling in Wicker Park, and we’re gonna lay some people off. That’s unfortunate. But we look to get resolution for this as soon as possible.”

As to who’s collecting the trash and recyclables from the bins in the 1st Ward, or where they’re being dumped, the company identified as Free Green Can’s waste hauling contractor refused to answer questions.

Holland said everything was being taken to the city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation facilities. However, when CBS 2 asked Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Tom Byrne about it, he said no one had asked or received his permission to haul the waste and recycling to city sites. The Chicago Department of Transportation, responding to Emanuel’s comments, has just ordered all the containers removed immediately.

  • Linkypoos Feb. 29, 2012

    […] With March’s primary election approaching, 1st Ward Ald. ‘Proco’ Joe Moreno has attracted some rare bad press, and on CBS 2 News to boot, for improper placement of campaign advertisements on the Free Green Trash Cans.  Breaking Update (thanks to Joe Lake): The cans will be removed, per CBS Local. […]




    • Fed Up

      Yo, the whole point is that there was no free service. The city picks up the trash, and that’s why the cans are illegal. The company just dropped the cans with no plan or intention of picking up the trash. Alderman was just trying to get tax-payer funded political support.

      Alderman should have known better and he should be ashamed of himself, and stop with the indignant attitude about getting caught red-handed. He should be saying “I’m sorry.”

      Voters will get their say when they go to the polls and put out this unethical fraud.

      • CJ

        Free Green Can does pick up the garbage and recycling. They come around in a white pick up with their logo on the side all the time to pick up garbage. The city doesnt touch the free green cans

  • sbl

    Candidates: if you choose to put your photo on a garbage can, you think people are going to vote for you?

    LOL at the slogan “trash here” and the politician’s picture. Excellent choice. Nothing but garbage.

    • uptown

      Hahaha. Seriously. Trash Here and your picture next to it? What a bad descision by the Alderman. Hopefully someone else made this decision for him to do this and that person gets fired.

  • Illegal Trash And Recycling Bins To Be Removed From 1st Ward Streets – GO SOLAR GO GREEN

    […] post: Illegal Trash And Recycling Bins To Be Removed From 1st Ward Streets Filed Under: Recycling Tagged With: a-rogue-recycling, and-face, bins-on-city, emanuel, […]

  • Illegal Trash And Recycling Bins Removed From 1st Ward Streets – GO SOLAR GO GREEN

    […] this article: Illegal Trash And Recycling Bins Removed From 1st Ward Streets Filed Under: Recycling Tagged With: […]

  • Opinion-Editorial: “Trash Can” Proco Joe Say it Ain’t So – City Inspector General investigates Alderman Moreno

    […] Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Jay Levine did an expose and story on the “Free Green Cans” that have been popping up all over the 1st Ward with Alderman Proco […]

  • xedge

    you would think one the city it broke they would be happy to have someone pick up there trash for free

  • Bob Hamilton

    Proco Joe should be fined per the law.

  • juju

    I didn’t know it was Throw out a White Boy day?

  • DR

    I live in the first ward, and these cans were awesome. I moved there form the 47th over the summer, and honestly didn’t even know what my alderman looked like until I saw his photo on the cans.

    Sure, the timing was bad to have your photo out there, but Free Green Can is a real company, based in Chicago, trying to clean up all the garbage out here. So there are jobs with less security now.

    Some have said that CBS 2 reporters may have taken money from Moreno’s opponent in the election to run this story. AND now to remove one of the few public recycling options from my neighborhood. Thanks a bunch, CBS2, for being part of the problem with the world.

  • Advertising-Supported Garbage Cans Pulled, Questions Remain

    […] CBS aired an expose on the cans, which, it turns out, did not have correct permits and have since been pulled from area streets after an investigation by the city’s Office of Inspector General. A Free […]

  • Cprosapio

    The cans are an excellent idea and should be left on the street. They promote the concept of recycling, something we need to be more in tune with to avoid digging up more of our farms for garbage burial. The city should help them get the permits and as far as the advertising…who cares. I saw those cans and didn’t even notice the ads.

  • Bow Before Me

    Queen Rahm has a problem with everything, doesn’t she.

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